Venezuelan politics expert Mark Jones available to comment on Hugo Chavez

David Ruth

Venezuelan politics expert Mark Jones available to comment on Hugo Chavez

HOUSTON – (March 3, 2013) – Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced this weekend that President Hugo Chavez is “fighting for his life.” Maduro said that Chavez traveled to Cuba in December for a fourth surgery to stave off cancer and is now receiving intensive chemotherapy at a military hospital in Caracas.

Mark Jones, who is the chair of political science at Rice University, a fellow at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a leading expert on Latin American politics, said that Chavez’s health has far-reaching implications for Venezuela and Cuba.

“President Hugo Chavez’s declining health has profound ramifications for Venezuela’s future as well as that of several of Chavez’s most important allies in the region,” Jones said. “If Chavez passes away or is forced to acknowledge he cannot continue to govern, a new presidential election will be called for later this year.

“Chavez’s anointed successor, Nicolas Maduro, could very well lose to the Venezuelan opposition’s candidate, Henrique Capriles,” Jones said. “If Capriles is victorious, he is all but certain to end Chavez’s policy of shipping oil to countries like Cuba and Nicaragua on extremely favorable financial terms. In the case of Cuba, the end of Venezuelan petroleum shipments would cripple the country’s already struggling economy.”

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.

To schedule an interview with Jones, contact him directly at 832-466-6535.


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Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.